Where did the new corona virus originate, and how could it happen?
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It is generally believed that Covid-19 originates from bats; further, it is assumed that the outbreak in Wuhan did not directly come from bats, but by means of an intermediate host, that served as a "virus reservoir" in which the virus became better adapted to infecting humans.
The Chinese government tried to put the blame on food sellers and categorically denied that one of the bio-research labs in Wuhan could have been involved in the outbreak. However, there is no evidence that the virus originated at a food market, and a short paper by Chinese scientists that provided circumstantial evidence pointing in the direction of the bio-research labs, was suppressed.
According to a recent preprint by Piplani et al, Covid-19 seems best adapted to human cells - more than to any animal that was considered as intermediary hosts such as pangolins. "the data indicates that SARSCoV2 is uniquely adapted to infect humans". That's puzzling!
And now an excellent discussion article has appeared, written by a virologist and a geneticist who came up with a detailed, well researched hypothesis about the possible origin of Covid-19. They discovered that long before the outbreak, at least one blood sample from pneumonia patients with an unknown illness had been sent to Wuhan. Those patients, of which some died, had been in the copper mine with the virus that is closest related to Covid-19.
- accounts for the fact that infections first of all target the lungs
- the sudden appearance of a virus that is fully adapted to humans from the start
- its transmission from bats in Yunnan to humans in Wuhan, almost 1000 km away.
It's worth mentioning that while the above-mentioned hypothesis is basically that of a natural origin with merely passive laboratory involvement, several other virologists such as Sørensen hold that the virus has characteristics that can not be of natural origin. His paper (rejected by several journals on editorial grounds without review) can be read here. A combination of those two hypotheses - a natural base with some artificial enhancement - can of course not be excluded. And even a natural cause without any lab involvement remains imaginable.
The World Health Organization is now investigating the possible origin, but there's reason to suspect that some of the most likely and obvious possible causes will be ignored. If so, little to nothing can be expected from it.
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